Wilbur and Orville Wright


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Wright, Wilbur and Orville

 

Wilbur, born Apr. 16, 1867, in Millville, Ind.; died May 30, 1912, in Dayton, Ohio. Or-ville, born Aug. 19, 1871, in Dayton, Ohio; died there Jan. 30, 1948. American inventors, airplane builders, and aviators.

From early childhood the Wright brothers showed a great interest in athletics and engineering. They first had a small printing shop in Dayton and later established a bicycle repair shop. They became interested in aviation after news of the death of the German aeronautical engineer O. Lilienthal. After studying works on aviation by S. Langley, O. Chanute, and Lilienthal, they constructed gliders of various designs and made almost a thousand flights.

In 1903 the Wright brothers equipped their glider with an 8.85-kilowatt (12-hp) internal-combustion engine that they had designed themselves and on Dec. 17, 1903, made the world’s first successful flight, which lasted 59 seconds. Between 1904 and 1908 they made two improved versions of their airplane and also made the first flight in a circle, lasting 38 minutes. They later made the first flight with passengers on board. In 1908 and 1909 the brothers demonstrated their plane in Europe in hopes of selling it to the war departments of various countries. Although the design of the Wright brothers’ airplane was used to build airplanes in Germany and Russia until 1913 and although various improvements were made, the plane did not receive wide distribution. In 1909 the Wright brothers founded a company in the United States to manufacture their airplanes.

WORKS

“The Wright Brothers’ Aeroplane.” The Century Magazine, 1908, vol. 76, no. 5.

REFERENCES

Zenkevich, M. Brat’ia Rait. Moscow, 1933.
Znamenskii, G. A. “70 let so dnia uspeshnogo poleta samoleta brat’ev Rait.” In lz istorii aviatsii i kosmonavtiki, fasc. 19. Moscow, 1973.
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Wilbur and Orville Wright would go from obscurity to international sensations, then be held in contempt as obstructers of progress, and finally be acclaimed as the heroes who taught the world to fly.
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Drawing on the inspiration and lessons learned from Wilbur and Orville Wright, the Visitor Center tells the story of flight, and invites and encourages visitors to consider to reach for the impossible.